The Save London's Theatres Campaign (SLTC)
Save London's Theatres was original set up in 1972 to Campaign against the imminent demise of 16 of London's West End Theatres. This huge campaign was extremely successful and London's Theatreland remains today as a result of our early work.
Our campaign case files since 1972 have been archived at the Theatre Museum's Archives at Blythe House, (which despite the closure of the Theatre Museum remain secure and accessible.)
Closed until further notice - 1972
West End Theatreland is in imminent danger of destruction. At least sixteen theatres in the Covent Garden, Piccadilly, Shaftesbury Avenue and Seven Dials Areas are bound to be affected by redevelopment plans and traffic proposals. It could be years before the demolished theatres are replaced, as in the case of the Winter Garden into the New London Theatre. In the meantime, others will be affected by large-scale traffic concentrations swamping them and causing acoustic problems. And because of the extensive building operations, access will be difficult. It is not a rosy picture for the theatregoer. Considerable trade will be lost and it is likely that the London theatre will never recover its buoyancy.
58% of visitors gave live entertainment as the primary reason for visiting the U.K. in 1971. £469 million was spent (British Tourist Board).
It could be goodbye to the theatres marked in red. Many theatres are bound to he affected by the Greater London Council and private redevelopment plans. Some are to be demolished while the life of others will be jeopardised by new roads.
Above - Map of Theatreland in 1972 with proposed Theatre demolitions marked in red.
It has taken centuries to build up the colourful, diverse and human character of Covent Garden. The theatre and ancillary trades play an important part in this balance. If these plans go through, not only will the theatre be affected but the following supporting trades could be wiped out:
Lower Income Accommodation - Lighting engineers - Costumiers
Property Makers - Timber merchants - Ironmongers
There is no reason for theatres to be shrinking in number. In fact it should be just the opposite. General planning powers are not sufficient and scheduling of theatres is inadequate (only the shell of the building is preserved when a theatre is listed by the Department of the Environment for historical or architectural interest). Therefore, we are sustaining pressure at all levels against the proposed plans for redevelopment. We also feel the need to preserve the amentities and character of areas like Covent Garden as a national responsibility. The Campaign supports the proposals which the Theatres' Advisory Council is placing before the Greater London Council and the Government. These are: (1) That London's Theatreland should not be divided in two by massive widening of Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross. (2) That a statutory body should be given powers to protect London's theatres and their environment.